October 9, 2008

Columbus Teachers Mobilize Undecided Voters to Attend Debate Watch Party


Contact: Michele Prater, +1-614-378-0469, [email protected], Stacey Grissom, +1-202-486-3491, [email protected], Cynthia Kain, +1- 202-213-5971, [email protected], all of NEA

COLUMBUS, Ohio,Oct. 9/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Educators are mobilizing their colleagues, including those who have not yet made up their minds on a presidential candidate, to attend a debate watch party on October 15. Teachers and education support professionals will gather to watch the final presidential debate at 8 p.m. at Buckeye Hall of Fame Cafe located at 1421 Olentangy River Road, Columbus, Ohio.

Ohio educators want a president who will embrace a new role for the federal government in improving schools. Instead of testing mandates, teachers want the next administration to promote innovation in states by sharing what's working and providing states with the resources and tools to institute new ideas.

Educators also are concerned about electing leaders who will side with them to close achievement gaps and ensure schools receive adequate funding.

College affordability is a sleeper issue in the election, but one that concerns many educators. Many of their students will graduate high school ready for college but won't attend because they and their families can't afford it. Nationwide, rising tuition charges and a shortfall in federal and state grants will keep more than 400,000 qualified high school graduates from attending a four-year college. Tuition at Ohio's flagship university, Ohio State, has risen to $8,679 per year.

The National Education Association has launched an unprecedented grassroots effort to reach out to educators in 10 battleground states to urge them to vote November 4. To date, NEA and its affiliates have distributed more than 4.2 million pieces of mail, made more than 2.1 million phone calls, and sent more than 1.3 million emails to educators in Ohio, Colo., Mich., Mo., N.C., N.H., N.M., Nev., Pa., and Va.

WHO:Columbus teachers, librarians, guidance counselors and other education support professionals

WHAT:Debatewatch party for final presidential debate

WHERE:Buckeye Hall of Fame Caf, 1421 Olentangy River Road, Columbus, OH

WHEN:8 p.m., Wednesday, October 15

NOTE:Teachers and education support professionals are available for post-debate interviews or to participate in focus groups.

For more on NEA's campaign activities, please visit: http:// educationvotes.nea.org.

TheOhioEducation Association represents 130,000 teachers, faculty members andsupport professionals inOhio's public schools, colleges and universities.

The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing 3.2 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

SOURCE National Education Association

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